Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New member of our family

During the months leading up to Halloween when we are spending a lot of time outside on the weekends and building fires to stay warm at night we discovered we had a visitor. A small young black and white male cat was hanging around. After a few months I started leaving him dry food on the patio. He would gobble it down as if he hadn't eaten in days. He started to hang around more and more. Then just after thanksgiving he starting hanging outside our back door waiting to be petted or fed. He had named him Hal (short for Halloween Cat). Since I was home all the time I finally decided to let him in the house. He was in heaven. Food dishes, warm places to sleep. I took him to the vet and had him tested for anything that might get our older cat sick. He got his shots and something for flees and ear mites. I took him back later in the week to be fixed to mellow him out a bit and keep him from spraying on stuff in the house. Now he looks longingly out the window to the big outdoors he used to roam but has no desire to be out there again. We are enjoying having a young male cat in the house again after we lost our 18yr old Merlin to old age a couple of years ago. He likes to sleep in the bed and loves to play with cat toys for hours. Our older cat Madelyn isn't too keen on the new guy but she is slowing letting him grow on her. There is a little less growling and hissing in the house each day. Anyway welcome Hal to your new home.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas decorations

Our annual minimal yard display during the christmas holidays has been up since the weekend after thanksgiving. I have been meaning to post a few pictures of it. We often hear from our halloween visitors that "Yours is the Calvin & Hobbs house!".

Our Windows are Installed

All of our double-Hung single pane leaded glass windows have been replaced with the latest wood window from Jeld-wen. http://www.jeld-wen.com/windows/wood/pozzi/product.cfm?product_id=21&groupid=

We painted the exterior of the windows before they were installed and now we have to paint the interior primered side when we get to it.
We can't believe how warmer and quieter the house is. It took a long time to get them installed but it is nice. Now we just have to replace the fixed windows.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

The posts on this blog are usually always upbeat since it was setup to let people know what was going on at our house. But since this is the biggest event in our lives right now I thought I should talk about it here.

As of last friday I am no longer employed. After almost 13 years of working for the same company and for quite a large salary I find myself among the unemployed. I was laid off due to a recent purchase of our company and my position was elminated as a cost cutting move.

On the positive side they gave me enough severance pay that I won't have to find a job for at least 4 months.

Not sure what I will be doing in the next few months but I will keep you posted.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Final pictures of Hallween 2005

A lot of hard work. A lot of fun. Some great friends. Very creative people. It was a great halloween. Thanks to everyone for all their help - get ready for Halloween 2006!

Halloween Party

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Demon in the tree

We finally finished this project and put it in the tree Saturday Afternoon. The gold paint job turned out pretty cool.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Thanks Scott!

I have received several calls this morning from friends and co-workers that told me that they heard about our yard haunt on the radio this morning!!!

Who knew so many people listened to KISN?

Monday, October 24, 2005

New Tombstones

The new tombstones look great! Jen did a fantastic job!

We have a ghost haunting the crypt.

It is difficult to show a picture of it, but here is where our projection ghost appears at night. We use a LCD projector playing a DVD I made of someone acting as a scary ghost. I slowed it way down and blurred it; it now looks like a real ghost in the crypt!

Our Demon Skeleton

Mr. Reid, with a little help from Jeff, worked really hard this weekend to finish our demon skeleton that will go in the tree in the front of the yard. These pictures show the stance of the skeleton, the skull, and part of the wings. Looks like we will finish this one up just in time for our party!

It works!

This photo doesn't do it justice but our new effect for Halloween this year worked out GREAT! Take one used LCD projector. Use a digital video camera to film your friend lip-syncing to a scary message. Carve a head out of foam and create a pedestal for it. Burn a DVD with your friend and the scary message. Next thing you know it’s just like being at Disneyland's Haunted Mansion!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Halloween is officially in full swing

We setup the basics this weekend. Our newer projects are not quite done yet. We are spending each free moment working on getting everything done. As usual it will be a mad scramble to finish up but it will all come together in the end.

Really Cool special effect

This is the box I built this weekend for a very cool effect we are working on this year. I will post more about it later. The box holds a LCD projector, DVD player, and stereo amplifier. It is vented and has a latchable lid with a hole in the side for the lens.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

We made Jack Skellington

One of Chris' work friends husband is really into the movie "Nightmare before Christmas". Since Chris is too she offered to make him a standup of Jack. We used an old piece of siding we were going to give away. She traced and painted it and I cut it out for her. They were very happy with the results.

Our windows have arrived!

The last of the home improvement projects of 05' is about to begin. We are replacing all the double hung windows in our house. Ten of them to be exact. We orderd Pazi windows from Jeld-Wen. These are wood windows that come primered. We have to paint the exterior and then they can be installed by our installer which only takes about a day to do.

Right in the middle of preparing for Halloween. Fun!

Monday, October 10, 2005

We have a website!

After many hours of cursing and hair pulling Chris has got the start of our Halloween website up.


She will be adding to it and fixing problems with it all week.

This will be our main way of getting info out about our yard this year.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

a new scarecrow

This scarecrow is for Craig at the Corn Maze. We used an older mask and then built him using a 2x4 so he is sturdy. Hope he likes it.

New tombstones

Jen and Chris have been working on some new tombstones this year. They just can't help themselves. Even thought they say they won't be making any more. Once they get started they just can't seem to stop. They are looking pretty cool. I think the real reason we are making more is that we are giving a few to Craig at the Corn Maze and they are making new ones to replace the old ones.

A new torture cage

I am working on a new prop for halloween. It's a square torture cage that I will stuff a full sized bucky skeleton into. It is 2 feet square. I am going to hinge the lid and then put some chain and padlocks on it. I will paint it flat black to give it the rought iron look.

Sewer Pipes are in!

I worked with my Dad all day Saturday getting the sewer lines in and vented out the roof for the bathroom. We have the bathroom toilet and sink and the utility sink downstairs now ready to be installed. I just have to get the water lines in and installed. I have a little bit of framing left to do.

Monday, October 03, 2005

New tombstone style

The new technique we are using this year looks great. These are just a few of the newly painted tombstones. Thanks to Jen and Mr Reid for their talents.

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

I can't believe I did this. I know better, I have been working with table saws since I was in junior high. I have never hurt myself. Well, this weekend I did something that sent me to the emergency room and earned me a couple of stiches in my left hand middle finger. Luckly I did not do any permanent damage and it should all heal just fine.

I was working late and was tired. I was ripping a small board down the middle using my trusty push stick when I reached over with my left hand to steady the board and as it kicked up at the end my left hand slipped and my middle finger cought the top of the saw blade. I tore the tip of my finger open and shattered a corner of my finger nail.

I thought I would spare everyone the gorey pictures. Boy that was dumb. I am having a hell of a time typing this without using my left middle finger.

Finished the rest of the cabinets

With the help of Jason and Quin I finished the last 2 cabinets. I got all the tops on them and a few of them set in place. I still need to make the doors but they are basically done.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

New and improved mud men

The mud men have been painted, distressed, repaired & added hoods, added a coat of polyurathane. Ready for another year of fright for the neighbors.

Like my drawers?

I spent a couple of nights this week building and installing drawers in the cabinets I have built so far. I used drawer guides I bought from home depot. They where the single rod down the middle kind with a roller on the middle of the back of the drawer and 2 rollers on each side.

They are about 16 inches deep and just under 13 inches wide. They are 4 inches high. The rollers are rated at 50lbs so I am pretty sure I can stuff just about anything I have in them.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Halloween Prep in full swing

Well the tombstones were dragged out and lightened up this year so they are easier to see at night. Sort of looks like the lawn is littered with tombstones?

The "mud men" were lined up for their annual painting and repair work. Its starting to feel a lot like .... halloweeen!

We are trying something new with the mausoleum columns this year. Here is a sneek peak of the work in progress. Thanks to Chris for his artistic creativity.

Built 3 new cabinets

This cabinet building thing is going a lot slower than I thought. I built 1 on Saturday and the 2 small ones on Sunday. I got a late start on Saturday but it still takes quite a while when I am doing it myself. I still need to make drawers and doors for these plus 2 more smaller cabinets. I decided not to make a corner cabinet and I kind of like the separate units instead of them all tied together?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Great Mud Men Migration.

It has officially started. The halloween decor is making its way from storage into our driveway and every other possible place we can stick something to be fixed or touched up. Thanks to Mr R. for his handywork. Oh and look like our Artistic Director is in this one?

We decided to try lightening up the stones this year. Jen had fun with the waterstained effect.

My first cabinet

After putting up drywall on the celing in the shop area all day Saturday. I started Sunday by going to Home Depot and buying the wood to make my first of 7 cabinets. It took me the rest of the day to complet my first one! They will be 4 foot wide (nice easy way to cut up a 4x8 sheet). Two of them will be tall like this one 42inches. The rest will be a bit lower at 36 inches. I still need to make the doors and drawer guides but it looks like they will work nicely.

I'm sure I can fill them all up in no time and Chris will be asking me again why I have stuff all over the counter tops.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

No more post in the middle of the shop

When we first remodeled the shop we used 4 10 foot 4x12 beams held up with posts down the center of the shop. The Shop is 40 feet deep. The first 20 feet we use as a 2 car garage the back 20 feet is the woodshop. I had always had a post in the middle of the shop floor supporting the 2 10 foot beams. When we repoured the shop floor I decided to remove the post but in order to do so we needed not only a longer beam but a more sturdy one too. I purchased a 5x12 gluelam beam. This weighed several hundred pounds. We had to build a temporary wall to jack the floor up and then take the two old beams down and then lift the new beam up into place.

Thanks to Quin and Jason that Friday for all their hard work and team effort. Also thanks to my Dad for lending me his wall jacks and suggesting them. With some final pounds of a sledge hammer we were able to get this bad boy into place. It sure looks different in the woodshop to see a bare floor.

If you have a Sewer line you need a bathroom

I started work on framing and plumbing the bathroom. Purchased the sink and toilet at, you guesed it, Home Depot. Got a "all-in-one" toilet. It comes with everything you need to install it.

Also got a 2-1/2 gallon water heater that I am going to install under the sink. This project got put on hold until we finish the aformentioned drywall and cabinet making project downstairs. Maybe I can get back to this in the evenings?